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Ecommerce Blog - Fortune3

How to Build a Brand Your Customers Adore

fortune3-branding-imageEver wonder how Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nike do it? Why are they some of the top brands, while others like Fila, Faygo, and Dr. Pepper try to keep up?

Think of each brand individually. Which one do you feel most positive about? I don’t know about you, but I get better feelings when I think about Coke, Pepsi, and Nike versus Fila, Faygo, and Dr. Pepper.

Of course, not everyone will agree with me on that. However, by and large, more people will than won’t.

It’s due in large part because of branding. Coke, Pepsi, and Nike have spent hundreds of millions, and maybe billions, on making sure their brands get seen in a more positive light than any other.

What do they focus on that makes them so much more powerful than any other company in their market?

Here’s some lessons to learn:

1. They Reflect What Their Target Market Likes Best about Themselves

Think about Nike especially: “Just Do It.” Athletes like to think of themselves as tenacious and competitive. That slogan definitely reflects that attitude. Plus, all the commercials you see feature athletes competing intensely or working out hard.

Coke sells happiness. Who can argue with that? Pepsi has a sweeter flavor and focuses on the younger crowd that likes to think of itself as cool.

When you think of the advertising all these brands do, they perfectly reflect what their markets like best about themselves.

How can your company do that?

2. They Focus on Feelings

We talked about Coke. They sell happiness. When you see a red can, you feel happy and positive. Puts you in a buying mood, doesn’t it?

Pepsi consumers feel young, energetic, and cool. Nike customers feel tough, confident, determined, and unstoppable.

What feelings do your customers want? If you sell furniture, do they like to feel frugal, like they got a good deal? Or, do they like to feel luxurious? Comfortable? Warm and happy with family?

Find out what feelings your customers want and show them how your products and services make them feel that way.

3. Consistently Reinforce Your Brand Everywhere

Your website, your banner ads, your employees, and even you personally, need to emphasize the core values of your brand at all times. Nothing works better in marketing and branding than consistency. When your customers consistently hear what they want to hear, they slowly begin to believe it over time. And that’s what keeps them coming back to you again and again.

If you follow these core principles of branding, you will succeed over the long-term. You’ll have a business that survives, thrives, and dominates the competition.

 

Posted in Branding, Online Marketing Strategies

What Should Your Business’s Name Be?

fortune3-open-for-business-photo.jpgDoes Johnson Enterprises work? It could and could not, depending on your target market and a host of other factors.

Give your company a catchy name like Google, and that helps it grow. It doesn’t guarantee growth, but it arouses more curiosity and excitement within your target market.

If your company has a boring, generic name that could apply to 1,000 companies in other various niches, you might have more trouble growing your business.

So what should your company’s name be?

Here are some tips for giving it the one that allows you the best opportunity for growth:

1. Think about Hiring a Company to Help You Identify a Name

This doesn’t come cheaply, though. It costs upwards of $80,000 or more for firms to help you find a company name that works in your niche. You may be able to find consultants for much more affordable rates, but then who knows what the quality of their expertise is?

2. What Your Business Name Should Do…

Your name should be clear, communicate the value you offer, and also be meaningful to your target market. For example, consider the name “Italiatour.” It’s not a real word, but it combines a country name (Italy) and a service offered (tours).

That evokes visions of Rome, the Mediterranean Sea, and the gorgeous Italian countryside in people’s minds.

How do those tactics apply to your e-commerce business?

Be Careful Doing These Things…

3. Always Pick Sensible Names

Yes, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other unusual business names got big. But in general, they’re also a huge risk. For example, if you heard of a small company called “Google” 15-20 years ago, what would you guess they do?

Avoid crazy, whacky, and quirky business names.

4. Get Customer Feedback

Family and friends love you and want to help in any way they can…but when it comes to naming your business, they aren’t much help at all. And they may give you biased opinions that don’t reflect the opinions of your market.

Instead, talk to your customers directly and get their opinion on your business’s name.

5. Don’t Be Too Specific…

Unless you plan on offering basically the same thing with your website for the rest of its life! You may want to stay at a broader, higher level because that allows you to expand the products and services you offer without having to rebrand your business.

6. Don’t Put Your Name in the Business if It’s Risky!

If your e-commerce site fails, and enough people know about it, they’ll associate your name with the failure in the future. And that could ruin your chances at success with new businesses.

Ultimately, there’s a lot of luck and chance involved in picking your business’s name too. Do take the process seriously, but don’t be perfectionistic about it!

When you think you find the right name, it’s time to go full speed ahead.

Posted in Branding, Online Marketing Strategies

How to Create a Recognizable Brand Your Customers Love

fortune3-e-commerce-branding-imageWhen you hear the word “brand,” what company names come to mind?

Disney, Apple, GE, Toyota, and Nike might be just a few of the names.

You have your own favorite brands that first come to mind. But how did they get there in the first place? There’s a number of different paths they took.

Fortunately, you don’t need millions of dollars to create an enduring brand name.

With the web and micro-targeting, you can build a small, targeted one that endures for many years.

Here are some tips for doing it:

1. When Creating Your Slogan, Focus on 3 Value Propositions

For example, if you run a company that sells designer purses, you might say: Gorgeous. Compact. Luxurious. You do that because that’s what your customer wants to buy.

That may not be the perfect 3 words to use, but you get the point.

2. What Makes You Different?

It doesn’t have to be a lot, but you have to focus on whatever small differences there are between you and your competitors. For example, if you look at jeans, what’s the difference between any brand?

They’re all basically the same at the end of the day right – they’re jeans aren’t they? And yet there’s several large brands.

Going back to the purse example, yours may be different because it’s so small and easy to carry around. Your marketing must focus on that difference to stay interesting to your target market.

3. What’s Your Promise?¬†

With every product or result, your target market gets something out of it. With these promises, they look gorgeous while also being compact. So, your purses should be getting your customers compliments from their family and friends. And your market themselves should feel like they’re high-class Americans.

If you deliver on that promise, your brand grows exponentially.

4. Be Consistent in All Your Marketing

This one has a caveat. You still need to be creative in your marketing approaches and deliveries. But, you don’t want to say the exact same thing in about the same way all the time. You’ll put your market to sleep if you do!

Watch the big brands for innovative marketing techniques. They have to stay creative, or they start to lose business.

5. Talk with Your Customers Regularly 

Don’t you know your business the best? Nope – the customers are the experts. That’s because they ultimately vote in our free marketplace with their wallets.

Think of a gigantic corporation as having “$600 billion” in votes.

Therefore, it’s important that you constantly maintain a dialogue with them. Fortunately, the internet makes it easy. You can ask outright on your Facebook page or send surveys in your e-mail.

Decades ago, corporations would pay millions for this kind of research, but you can do it all for next to nothing!

Anyway, if you follow through on those points, you’ll be well on your way to creating a recognizable brand your customers are happy to buy from.

Posted in Branding, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Online Marketing Strategies

How to Choose the Right Tagline for Your Brand

fortune3-eocmmerce-branding-imageNo part of your business is so small that you should overlook it. ¬†Your tagline communicates instantly who you are, what you do, your company’s personality, and the primary benefit you offer to your customers.

How do you come up with legendary taglines like Nike’s “Just Do It” or DeBeer’s “A Diamond is Forever?” ¬†Developing an iconic tagline like that might be impossible for you, but you can get close and attract more customers if you follow this process:

1. Understand that it is an Open-Ended Process

You won’t scribble down a few ideas in your extra time and magically stumble across the tagline your customers are dying to hear. ¬†It is going to be a process – there’s no doubt about that. ¬†You’ll have to brainstorm with your key personnel. ¬†Think about it when you’re in the shower that morning.

Tell your secretary you’d love to hear her thoughts. ¬†You don’t know where your tagline will come from, but it will arise – in its own time.

2.  Be Clear

Your tagline isn’t the time to be creative – you don’t want to confuse people. ¬†Instead, you want to be simple, clear and to the point. ¬†Your tagline should be around 5-7 words or so.

3.  Know Your Market

What problem do you solve for your market? ¬†That’s what your tagline should focus on. ¬†Disneyland is the “Happiest Place on Earth.” ¬†What is it that your market really wants? ¬†They want some sort of good feeling – so deliver it to them right away in your tagline.

To find your benefit, keeping asking the question, “So what?” ¬†Do you provide innovative technological products? ¬†The consumer’s going to say, “So what if they’re innovative – you can get that type of stuff just about anywhere!” ¬†That means your benefit is going to need to be more specific.

4.  Run Your Ideas by Your Customers

Once you’ve got a few ideas, run them by your customers. ¬†You can do this digitally by sending out an e-mail survey, or if you have a physical location as well, just asking for feedback.

5.  Add Some Personality

Your tagline doesn’t have to be serious – it should contain some personality to give your customers an idea of how you do things. ¬†Don’t go all the way to the other extreme and go completely off the wall either.

6. ¬†Make Sure it Doesn’t Repeat Your Brand Name’s Concepts

Keep it completely original – that’s one of the main keys. ¬†All words, ideas, and benefits should be unique.

Now it’s off to the races – and remember when you hit on the right one, that can be a significant leap forward for your business psychologically and financially.

Posted in Branding, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips

6 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

What is your brand?

It’s the sum perception people have of your company – it’s your business’s personality. ¬†People like things that are new, so the more you can present your company in an original way, the better.

But what shouldn’t you do? ¬†Well, here are a few of those things:

1.  Doing Something Offensive

Almost nobody intends to do this, but sometimes it happens by accidents, even after passing over many eyes. ¬†For example, PETA once put up a billboard that said “Save the Whales! ¬†Lose the Blubber: ¬†Go Vegetarian”…with a large woman on the side of the picture.

These can be good opportunities to show your integrity by making up for the mistake with good PR, but it’s not really a position you want to get into unless you have to. ¬†As you run your small business, just make sure that you run your branding and advertising by someone else before actually executing it.

2.  Imitating Other Companies

What works for other companies may not work for you.  Apple, for example, never branded itself as a technology company.  Instead, it focused on making technology a lifestyle:  it promoted the benefits of its products Рa sleek design, simplicity, and individuality.

If somebody’s focusing on the product and you want to compete – focus on the feelings the product provides instead.

3. ¬†Don’t Abandon Your Identity If It’s Established

For example, you know Burger King? ¬†They’ve been falling behind in the fast food industry of late. ¬†So one day, they decided to change the log on their website from “Burger King” to “Fries King.” ¬†People were confused as all get out.

If you want to shift people’s perception of your company, better to do it slowly over time.

4.  Inconsistency Across the Business

Your social media profiles, website, PowerPoint presentations, and business cards should all communicate the exact same idea.  You should have the same logo and colors on each.

Not doing so confuses your customers and their perception of your brand’s identity.

5.  Never Break Your Promise

If you stand for privacy, make sure you keep everything private at all levels. ¬†Path, a newer social media site, made privacy one of their core values. ¬†However, they eventually were found to be taking contact information from their user’s iPhones…without asking!

Of course, much outrage sparked. ¬†So whatever your brand promise…make sure you follow through on it.

6.  Choose Your Name Carefully

Names like “PMS Mortgage, STD Flea Market, and Mammoth Erection Construction Company” have actually existed. ¬†Of course, if an off-color name is appropriate for the type of customer you want to attract, then by all means use it.

Just like anything else though, make sure you run your name by a few people you trust before you use it.

So if you can avoid those six branding mistakes, you should be okay. ¬†If some sound obvious, do still consider them, because you don’t want to find yourself making an obvious mistake.

Posted in Branding, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips

4 Branding Tips to Help You Stand Out

fortune3-branding-imageMany small businesses struggle with the “me too” syndrome. ¬†You might think yours is different by being “full service,” but that’s not really being different.

It’s a crowded, hyperconnected world out there – so how do you truly stand out from the crowd?

1.  Talk about the Same Thing in a Different Way

Your website design should have a truly unique theme to it.  How many millions of websites have you clicked through in your lifetime, only to realize they all basically look the same (or at least most do)?

Doughnuts are in general pretty much the same thing over and over again, right? ¬†Voodoo Doughnuts, even though they’re the same sugary thing on the inside, look way different on the outside. ¬†Because they’re doing the same thing in a much, much different way, Voodoo Donuts keeps long lines of customers even until very late hours (2 AM).

Let that serve as your inspiration to truly do the same thing in a whole new way.

2.  Use Copy with Personality

Besides graphic design, you should have a unique online personality too.  It really takes the skills of a professional copywriter to develop written language that stands out from the crowd.

Instead of the same-old boring “professional” tone most businesses use, add a little bit of personality. ¬†You can choose your own! ¬†You could go for these types of approaches:

Western slang
1920’s vernacular
Funny
Mysterious
Intelligent

The important thing is to pick a personality that your market really wants to hear.  99.9% of all businesses have the same old boring language on their websites.

3.  Maintain Consistency Across all Channels

And better yet, if you can maintain that consistency from the digital world and extend it into your physical store or customer service departments Рwow that makes a great impression.  If you used a Western slang personality, make sure your customer service reps use that language in their customer interactions.

Can you see how this would make your business that much more interesting, even if you do the exact same thing as 1000 other businesses?

4.  Constantly Monitor Your Brand Perception

This isn’t easy, and especially so if you are a small business. ¬†But, when you interact with your customers in person, ask them how they view your company. ¬†If they purchase, ask them why they did that. ¬†Send out surveys in your e-mail.

Do whatever it takes to really keep your fingers on the pulse of your market and their perception of your brand.  Then you can learn how to talk to them in person and in copy.

And guess what? ¬†They’ll purchase more from you because they realize you understand what’s really going on with them.

There’s much more to getting your brand to stand out online, but that’s it for starters.

What else do you think would help? Let us know in the comments below:

Posted in Branding, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, Online Marketing Strategies

5 Common Branding Mistakes SMBs Make

fortune3-branding-mistakes-postThe brand – your company’s identity in the minds of your market – is becoming more important than ever before. ¬†You see, the Information Age and the availability of technology allow marketing companies to provide more personal advertising experiences than television and radio.

The modern consumer’s preference is quickly becoming for a more personal experience.

That means it’s important for your business to have a stable, consistent brand present in the mind of your target market. ¬†Be careful for these mistakes so you don’t damage your brand identity or minimize the potential impact it could have on your target market:

1. ¬†Avoid buzzwords – “Big data” “content is king” and “take your company to the next level” are all buzzwords your company should avoid using. ¬†Because everyone uses them, they carry little, if any impact. ¬†You can try inventing your own buzzwords, but don’t use them too much because you want to capture the interest of your market, not confuse them.

2. ¬†Inconsistent messaging – If you sell a particular benefit or solution to your market, make sure that remains present on all the channels where you interact with your market. ¬†It’s not easy to maintain the same identity on your website and 5 different social media profiles, but it is very important.

3. ¬†Not speaking to what your customer really wants – Sure, you’re solving a need you know your customers have, but is it really the biggest one? ¬†And, are you solving it in the best way? ¬†Keep an ongoing dialogue with your market and always be performing that research, and eventually you will discover their true need.

4.  Not having a strong web presence.  Are you outsourcing your internet marketing services to a company?  Are you trying to do it yourself?  Do you have a partner or someone  in your network helping you grow your web presence?

If you don’t, you’re missing out on your best opportunity to compete with big businesses. ¬†Formstack recently performed research and found 55% of small businesses don’t have a website! ¬†As a web-savvy e-commerce company, you at least have this, but it goes to show that many businesses aren’t taking advantage of their best opportunity to compete.

5. ¬†A logo that doesn’t fit. ¬†Make sure your logo is brandable and that it fits your company’s identity. ¬†If your business is fun and casual, make sure your logo is fun and casual. ¬†If you’re more serious and results-driven, use a logo that communicates that message.

Make sure you check for these 5 branding mistakes, and watch your marketing campaign take off when you have them all in check!

Posted in Branding, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips

How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition

fortune3-ecommerce-ready-to-buy-imageIt’s not easy to stand out these days. ¬†There’s billions of websites and web pages online, and less than half of the earth’s population has internet access. ¬†There’s a ton of more competition coming down the road.

So, how do you stand out?

The answer:  by creating a unique selling proposition (USP).

But in order to find one, you have to research your market and have a very thorough knowledge of how it works. ¬†That in itself is a huge undertaking, so here’s some steps to take to create your USP:

Find your customer’s pain points and sell to them – Other businesses are doing things wrong, so figure out what people don’t like about other businesses and make that the focus of your business. ¬†Does their customer service suck? ¬†Do they offer free shipping both ways on clothing? ¬†Is their product quality below average? ¬†Figure out what it is and make a strong point of selling that on your website.

Learn who your ideal customer is РYou want to know everything about them, right down to their shoe size.  You should be able to describe your ideal customer like you would a family member.

Identify the benefits you offer – These are your “overarching benefits.” ¬†There should be around 3-6 of them or so, and they should speak to other areas where your competition is weak and to what your customer really wants.

Write down your promise – Remember, this is what makes or breaks your business – your ability to deliver on your promise. ¬†Follow the idea of “underpromise and overdeliver.” ¬†You don’t have to state it clearly on your website until you’re sure you can make it happen – it can be implied to begin. ¬†Make sure you work towards it, however.

Create the USP – By now, you should have a ton of information. ¬†Now, you have to condense it into a single, succinct sentence that specifically describes what you do better than anyone else. ¬†“We offer the best customer service around” is too vague. ¬†Revise that to something along the lines of “We offer free shipping and returns at any time and for any reason.”

Spread the message – Now that you’ve got your USP, spread it everywhere throughout your website and e-mail newsletter. ¬†Make it abundantly clear that is what you do for your customers better than anyone else.

Do You have a USP?

If you don’t have one and you’ve been in business for several years, that’s okay. ¬†However, now is the time to create one! ¬†If your business has been bouncing around from side-to-side for months or years on end, this might just be the big breakthrough you’ve been needing.

Posted in Branding, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, Online Marketing Strategies

How to Take Charge of Your Brand Identity: 7 Tips

fortune3-ecommerce-branding-image.jpgThink of all the major brands you enjoy, but what is a brand really, and how do you establish it?  Briefly, a brand is your overall identity Рhow people view your company.  Simply stated, your brand is established by the promise you offer your customers and how well you deliver on that promise.

Branding is hugely important because if you can establish a reputable brand in the minds of your customers, you instantly have trust built up and can make sales based on your name alone.  Much of the process of convincing people you are the company to purchase from is removed.

Now you know the benefits of a brand, so how do you establish a credible one?  Here are some tips:

1. ¬†Underpromise and overdeliver – Do make a promise to your customers, but make sure you can overdeliver on it. ¬†When you exceed customer expectations, they’ll be happier with your product and more likely to tell people they know about it.

2. ¬†Be consistent across all channels – You’ll have several social media accounts, a website, and a blog at minimum. ¬†You might be present on many other websites also. ¬†Make sure you establish a consistent brand and marketing message and that you use these in all places where you are present.

3. ¬†Develop a tagline – Focus your tagline on solving a problem your customers have. ¬†Make it memorable. ¬†If your customers can remember it and it solves a problem they have, there’s a good chance it will spread wildly across the web.

4.  Integrate your brand in all areas of your business РYour brand is present when you answer phone calls, have sales meetings, or return e-mails.  Whatever your brand is, make sure you reflect its identity in all customer interactions.

5. ¬†Use a logo – Develop your own or hire a marketing agency to help you make one. ¬†You can use an abstract symbol and define it’s meaning, a grouping of letters, or just about anything else. ¬†Whatever you pick, just make sure you stick to it and have a good explanation as to why it represents your business.

6. ¬†Know your ideal customer – Who does your brand speak to the most loudly? ¬†If you don’t already know, it’s time to figure out. ¬†Marketing to a persona is much more effective than marketing to everyone in general.

7. ¬†Guest blog on authority sites – There’s no better way to build your brand than by using someone else’s authority. ¬†If you appear on reputable industry websites, ¬†people will automatically trust you because they already trust the authority website. ¬†It’s one of the best ways to build your brand’s authority.

There you have it Рseveral ways you can establish the authority of your brand.  Which of these steps will you implement on your website today?

Posted in Branding, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, Online Marketing Strategies, SEO for eCommerce

What Your Brand Colors Say about Your Business

In terms of design, many who start ecommerce businesses aren’t usually the designers, and then again, some. As much as we think about colors in our design, we think about what we like but not so much about what they represent…this is general talk, right?

We came across this great inforgaphic about colors and wanted to share it with our readers. It has some great statistics that make you say, WOW!

– Studies have shown that a products color influences 60-80% of customers purchasing decisions, meaning color can make or break a product.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Branding